Indology constraints (contd.)

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Jul 6 23:44:59 UTC 1999

Seeing the archives of Indology-related but closed lists like RISA, one sees
that many scholars are withdrawing behind exclusive lists that keep out those
non-degreed in Indology-related areas. This could result in Indological
conclusions as in the case of each of the four (or five?)  blind men judging
the nature of an elephant by touching a different part of the elephant's
body. For example, recently in the RISA list, there was a query regarding
rituals related to aborted fetuses and/or  miscarried babies. The thread
closed without anybody mentioning an important ritual related to the subject
mentioned in CT. That is not surprising. Many scholars of Indian religion
today do not have the knowledge of literature which earlier traditional
scholars had. If that query had been posted in Indology, the originator would
have gained some valuable information from the "non-professionals". That is
why an open list like Indology is very valuable for pursuit of Indological

Recently, an European Indologist wrote to me the following regarding the
posting of too many messages by some.
"Another point you should note is that Indology is a very difficult field but
that the feeling of one's ignorance is much more overwhelming for one who is
not of Indian origin. This is why the number of queries by people from
European countries has decreased drastically (compare with what it was at the
beginning, 10 years back). They are probably afraid to say anything. In the
end, it might become
purely Indian (if the same trend goes on)"

I do not know if this was based on his inference or views expressed to him by
other European Indologists. Is this the general view of non-Indian members?

Prof. Aklujkar wrote on Nov 23, 1997 the following: "An awareness needs to be
maintained that what is considered to be scientific or professional is
relative to time and is determined to a considerable extent by the context in
which most of the scientists or professionals of a particular generation are
trained. A greater loss to a field of inquiry can result from dismissing the
questions and comments of intelligent and interested non-professionals than
from "wasting" a few seconds to delete the postings about the non-validity of
which one is certain."

In light of the above and the digest option available, do we really need the
constraints at all? What do others think?

S. Palaniappan

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